Court Orders Firm to Return N15m Loan

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By Maduabuchi Ubani

An Ikeja High Court has ordered a company, the Tilimanjaro Nigeria Limited, to refund a N15 million loan obtained from Nichole Integrated Investment Limited.

Apart from the said N15 million, Justice Raliat Adebiyi, who presided over the court, further ordered Tilimanjaro Nigeria Limited to pay Nichole Integrated Investment Limited another N1million as general damages.

The judge added: “Post- judgment interest shall be on the judgment sum at 35 per cent per annum from the date hereof until final liquidation of the judgment debt.

“The claimant’s clams for a declaration that the defendant is bound by the terms of the Loan Agreement dated 27th May 2011 and for pre-judgment interest at 35 per cent per annum fall and are hereby dismissed.

“The defendant’s counterclaim falls in its entirety and is hereby dismissed.”

Nichole Integrated Investment Ltd filed the suit, marked NO.ID/ADR/591/13, in 2013 against Tilimanjaro Nigeria Ltd. following dispute over the loan agreement.

Nichole Integrated Investment Limited contended in its statement of claims that sometime in 2011 Titilayo Nosa-Igiebor of Tilimanjaro Nigeria Limited approached it through its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Peter Omokaro, for a “friendly loan” of N15 million.

The company averred that the sum was to enable Titilayo Nosa-Igiebor’s brother, who is also a director in Tilimanjaro Nigeria limited, to pay tuition fees in a Pilot Training School in the United States of America (USA) when the family could not immediately raise the funds.

Nichole Integrated Invest Limited obliged the request and advanced the N15 million to Tilimanjaro, he stated.

The claimant stated that by reason of the urgency which the defendant requested the loan and the ill health of the CEO at the material time, the loan agreement could not be executed by the parties before disbursement of the loan to the Tilimanjaro Nigeria Limited.

He contended that Tilimanjaro’s Managing Director by an email July 19, 2011 acknowledged receipt of the loan agreement, but failed and or neglected to execute the loan Agreement despite the assurances to execute and return same to the claimant.

The claimant averred that prior to when the N15 million loan was advanced to Tilimanjaro, the CEO of the claimant and Titilayo Nosa-Igiebor were in an affair.

However, following Tilimanjaro’s failure to honour its obligation to repay the loan at the due date in 2013, Nichole Integrated Investment sued for loan recovery through its counsel, Jerry Omoregie.

But in her statement of defence, Tilimanjaro through Titilayo Nosa-Igiebor denied obtaining any loan Nichole Integrated Investment Limited.

The defendant averred that by reason of the “aforestated lovey dovey relationship,” she was “showered with financial and non-financial gifts” by Omokaro.

She contended that he gave her the N15 million because of her personal relationship with him and waived the repayment of the said sum in the course of their sexual relationship.

The defendant further averred that assuming but not conceding that the claimant did in fact advance the said loan to her, the alleged loan agreement was unenforceable.

But the judge, after reviewing of the facts and the evidence provided by the parties, awarded judgment in favour of Nichole Integrated Investment Limited in the sun claimed.

“The court finds that the defendant failed to prove its contention that the loan was granted to the defendant’s Managing Director personally…”, Justice Adebiyi held.